Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu(Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with excellent electrical conductivity and is supple in its pure state. Copper has a pinkish luster which is (beside gold) unusual for metals, are normally silvery white.
Copper is an essential trace nutrient to all high plants and animals. In animals, including humans, it is found primarily in the bloodstream, as a co-factor in various enzymes, and in copper-based pigments.
Copper has played a significant part in the history of mankind, which has used the easily accessible uncompounded metal for thousands of years. Several early civilizations have evidence of using copper. During the Roman Empire, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, hence the origin of the name of the metal as Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus", later shortened to Cuprum.
Copper has twice the thermal conductivity of aluminium and nearly ten times that of stainless steel! Copper is one of the most energy efficient metals, making it ideal for cooking.
Copper is significant in improving public health. Its anti-pathogen properties help to guard against infections in homes, at work, and in hospitals.
Copper tubing is widely used in plumbing because it can help preserve the purity of drinking water. Copper has antimicrobial effects that can inhibit water-borne micro organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, algae, and infectious parasites in the drinking water supply.
Surfaces made from copper, such as doorknobs and tabletops, can also reduce the spread of disease-carrying organisms. Microbial food poisoning can be reduced by using a copper surface when preparing food. Recent research established that the Escherichia coli O157 strain, an especially lethal strain of the E. coli bacterium, dies after just a few hours on a copper surface, even under dry conditions. However, the deadly bacterium can live for over a month on stainless steel, which is a common surface material in food processing and in the steam distillation of plants.
Similarly, hospitals and clinics have reduced the incidental transfer of micro organisms with copper-based, antibacterial paint on walls and by installing copper doorknobs and fittings on doors. Copper is also used in the preparation of antibiotics to keep them pure.
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